Beginning your role as a new Data Scientist is as exciting as it seems. It is a shift or rather an upgrade for your career. You get to apply, practice and learn more about Data Science tools and concepts.
Even with this change, you will find the initial months slow paced and challenging. The aim of this blog is to help you maneuver through this exact span of time so that you can effectively set a strong foundation for yourself.
Here are 5 suggestions that will help you. So let’s get on with it.
1. Get to know your colleagues and stakeholders
This should be your go to mantra of getting you know your team properly. Even though this is a learning process, the sooner you get a hang of everybody, the better it is for your work plan as a Data Scientist.
Try and have a chat with everyone. Either as a group or on a 1 on 1 basis. This will help you understand the challenges they are facing, the realistic expectations from your role and important factors of the primary agenda.
The best way to do this is by carefully listening and making mental or physical notes. Since you have introduced yourself, the goal here should be to know the others better.
You can ask these ice breaker questions:
- What is your background?
- What are your expectations of my role?
- What tools/software/frameworks are in use?
- What is important to you in working together?
- How does the team function on a daily basis?
- What are the biggest challenges and why?
- If you were me, what would you focus on?
Besides your colleagues, you will also need to interact with the stakeholders of the company. In these meetings, you will get a better picture of the company’s strategy. As a Data Scientist, your goal here will be to understand these and make them aware of you and what you bring to the table.
Questions you should ask during these meetings are:
- What are the biggest challenges the organization is facing?
- What are your expectations of our team?
It is crucial to understand your stakeholders, their realistic needs and expectations.
2. Get through the learning process as fast as possible
After the interactions, it is important to get acquainted with the data, the applied tech stack and the on going projects. Make sure to do this as quickly as possible. This is where proactiveness is key.
Set up meetings with colleagues, reach out to them for questions and ask for help in order to set you up and get going. Never hesitate to ask about any abbreviations that are not clear or if the purpose of a project is difficult to understand.
It is important to have a clear understanding at the beginning so that the pace at which the project is running is maintained. As a new Data Scientist, no one will blame you for small internal blips at the beginning, but you may be questioned for the same after 6 months into the job.
Pro Tip: After you have gathered all the relevant information, you may find a few gaps in your capabilities. Make it a priority to fill these gaps in the first 3 months.
3. Be aware of the Business
Having the right domain and business knowledge is crucial. Your motive should be to bring value to the business and to achieve this you need to thoroughly understand the business.
As a Data Scientist, you need to have meetings with your clients in order to understand their business, method of data collection and understanding what their needs are. Make sure to get an idea of the parameters they measure their growth with.
There may be a difference between what they want and what they say. As a good Data Scientist it will be your responsibility to understand the difference. One of your colleagues might be a familiar face for the client so take their help and gather all crucial information about the client’s business.
Being involved in this manner will help you advance your career.
4. Align all expectations
Keeping a strong relationship with your manager is also necessary. Based on your performance and results, it is upon your manager to decide about your future in the company right from the beginning.
In order to achieve this successfully, make sure that you win their trust and that you can be dependent about executing your job in the right way. Managing expectations, close alignments and proactiveness are key.
Make sure to:
- Be in touch with your manager for work related things.
- Keep them updated on what and how you are progressing.
- Clarify the expectations early on.
- Discuss about plans and their executions.
- Set up realistic timelines for ease of workflow.
- Lastly, don’t only talk about problems. Talk about achievements as well.
5. Secure your value
It is very important to show in the initial months itself that you are the best fit for the role. Aim to grab early accomplishments in areas that are important to your manager and to the business.
But as mentioned earlier, make sure that these are realistically achievable. The more dependent you are on others, the slower you will achieve your goal.
Have a look at this graph to understand this better.
It is best to begin with quick and easy but high impact tasks where you can secure a win. Almost like rewarding yourself with a low hanging fruit. After you have succeeded, make sure to let your manager know about it.
There is no shame in sharing your success. This will only help you gain visibility.
Pro Tip: Do make sure to have access to all data sources to help you with answering business questions and planning new projects in the future.
We hope these suggestions will help you substantiate your position in the company. Please feel free to check out similar blogs here.